Fuel and Tires

All about auto racing with Gazette staffer Dave von Falkenstein.

Fuel & Tires: Three to go for IndyCar; Busch continues his romp; local race results

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Dave von Falkenstein
July 30, 2015

With a lot of action coming up this weekend, what else is going on in the racing world?

IndyCar's three and out

The Verizon IndyCar Series is down to its final three races of the season. This Sunday will see the series race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. In the last eight races at the track, Scott Dixon has won five times while his Chip Ganassi Racing team has won seven. If you're going to bet on anybody this weekend, make it Dixie.

Dixon will have some tough competition, though, especially from Graham Rahal. The Ohio native currently sits second in points, 42 behind Juan Pablo Montoya, who won here in 1999. Rahal's highest career finish at the track is a fifth place he took last year, but he's already got a win this season and would love to win in front of his home crowd. His father Bobby won here twice in his career, so Graham will be one to watch.

Following this weekend's race, the series will head to Pennsylvania's Pocono Raceway on August 23 and then finish off the season at Sonoma Raceway in California on August 30. If Montoya can even come close to duplicating his win at Pocono last season, nobody will be able to catch him in the championship.

Can Kyle Busch go for four in a row?

As I went over last week, Kyle Busch is on a comeback for the ages. He turned up the wick last Sunday by winning the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis. Even better, Busch swept the weekend by winning the Xfinity Series race on Saturday.

It was Busch's third consecutive win and fourth in the last five races. Busch will try to be the first driver since Jimmie Johnson in 2007 to win four races in a row this Sunday at Pocono Raceway. Busch has never won at Pocono and has only four top-five finishes in 22 starts at the track. Whether he wins or not, I have no doubt Busch won't have any problem getting above 30th in points by the time the Chase for the Sprint Cup starts on September 20.

Gordon fails to win six

Jeff Gordon had a race to forget last Sunday at Indianapolis, his last race at the famed oval before he retires at the end of the season. Gordon was looking for his sixth win at the track and second in a row before hitting the wall trying to avoid a spinning Clint Bowyer. Gordon ended up finishing 42nd, his worst finish ever at the track.

Gordon has not yet won a race this season and time is running out for the four-time champion to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup. But two of Gordon's strongest tracks, Watkins Glen and Darlington, are still coming up.

F1 heads to summer break

In what is generally a follow-the-leader race at the Hungarian Grand Prix, Formula One put on a hell of a show last Sunday. Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, who started third on the grid, passed both Mercedes drivers to take the lead and never looked back. Vettel equaled F1 great Ayrton Senna's record of 41 wins and dedicated his win to Jules Bianchi, the F1 driver who passed away just over a week prior to the race.

Red Bull Racing teammates Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the podium, through Ricciardo was lucky to finish third after getting into the back of Nico Rosberg's Mercedes and puncturing Rosberg's tire. The Mercedes duo of Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton both had races to forget, finishing eighth and sixth respectively.

Elsewhere, 17-year-old Max Verstappen just missed out on being the youngest ever podium finisher, placing fourth while Fernando Alonso finally got a decent finish for his McLaren-Honda team with a fifth-place finish.

Hamilton still holds a 21-point advantage over his teammate heading into F1's four-week summer break. The season continues August 23 in Belgium.

Local races

—Winners last Friday at Madison International Speedway included Jason Thoma and Dave Trute, who each won Sportsman Series features while Dustin Ward won in Hobby Stox, Kelly Evink took the win in the Midwest Dash Series and Jed Buchholz won in 6Shooters. This Friday will see action from the NASCAR Whelen All American Late Model, Sportsman, Bandit, and the Midwest Truck divisions as well as a “Tough Truck Tug of War” and the first-ever Figure 8 race. Gates open at 6 p.m. with racing starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are $12 adults, $10 seniors, $8 students ages 12-17 and $5 kids ages 6-11. Get tickets here.

—Racing at Rockford Speedway last Saturday saw Jake Gille take his fourth victory of the season in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Johnny Robinson II won in the Sportsman division, Kelly Evink became the first repeat Short Tracker winner and Gene Marocco won the 20-lap Roadrunner feature. This Saturday has racing in the Late Model, Sportsman, Short Tracker and Roadrunner divisions. Tickets are $15-$24 adults and $5-$12 kids ages 11 and younger. Get tickets here.

—There's a full roster of racing at Jefferson Speedway this Saturday, including a 50-lap Late Model feature. Gates open at 3 p.m. with time trials at 5 p.m. and racing at 7 p.m. Tickets are $12 adults, $8 seniors and students ages 12-15 and $4 kids ages 8-11.

Dave von Falkenstein is a digital content coordinator for The Gazette and an auto racing fan. Follow him on Twitter at @achtungvon or email him at [email protected].

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